Air Force wants faster patching

Air Force officials will meet next week to discuss broadening their information assurance efforts to include speeding the service's software-patching process.

Officials' ultimate goal is to have software patches implemented across the Air Force in minutes. During the next few months, they hope to cut the time from tens of days to just days, said Col. Ronnie Hawkins, director of communications operations in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Installation and Logistics.

Hawkins spoke Dec. 7 at Air Force Information Technology Day, sponsored by AFCEA International.

Air Force officials can deliver a software patch across the service in minutes, but it takes much longer to install them, Hawkins said. Although patches are distributed automatically, they often are put on computers manually, which can take months. Air Force chief information officer John Gilligan has described that delay as unacceptable.

Air Force officials signed two Microsoft consolidation contracts worth $500 million last month during the next six years to streamline the service's software and support contracts with the company. The $70 million support portion allows for the automatic distribution and installation of Microsoft software patches.

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